Wednesday, February 28, 2007

10 male idols

I loved that Blake sang Virtual Insanity. I think that's the first time anybody sang Jamiroqui on AI.
I thought Big Chris has alot of originality in him and he's like as sweet as a teddy bear.
I thought Small Chris exudes personality personality personality when he sings. Which makes him stand out.
And I think Sundance is finally back in the game.
I think guys who did well this week all did the same thing, showed their true selves, is comfortable with themselves and it's gonna pay off.

I think Sanjay and Brandon is gonna go home.


I don't think I can watch the girls tomorrow. I'm off on another roadtrip, this time to Riyadh to visit the Iris Fields with Sunflora and I'm staying over at Zura's place and I'm not sure if her house has StarWorld.

see ya when I get back!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

why i'm different

okay let's get this over with.

gosh.. i think i'm pretty normal.
okay, here goes.

1. The Perfect Bite
When I eat, I like to create 'The Perfect Bite'. Every mouthful needs to be balanced and perfect as much as possible. If I'm eating nasi lemak for instance, the earlier spoonfuls need to have rice, a bit of egg, an ikan bilis, a nut and a bit of cucumber. If one of the 'ingredients' run out, I'll continue with one less until the others run out and I am left eating just the rice. (Can you understand or not?). If I'm eating KFC, I'll take a bit of flesh and a bit of the crunchy skin, scoop a bit of coleslaw and a bit of mashed potatoes. The perfect bite.

2. The Crunch
I like crunchy food. Crisps (chips to americans), keropok, cheetos, nuts, celery, iceberg lettuce, carrots.. you name a crunchy food, I like it. If possible, I'd like to have a crunchy item with all of my meals. I eat my meehon goreng with twisties. I add nuts to my salad. I have keropok or fried ikan bilis handy to get that crunch with rice. This trait has unfortunately been passed down to my kids.

3. The Power of Taste
I have this ability to memorize tastes. If I have tasted an ingredient and known its name, I could probably identify it the next time I taste it in some dish. I also have the ability to detect similarities of taste. This is a good skill to have when you're trying to cheat in cooking. I could re-create the taste of belacan using oyster sauce and a bit of MSG.

4. Semi-photographic memory
If I've been somewhere, I could usually picture it in my head. Somehow signboards and shopfronts stick in my memory well. Friends would usually ask me where they can find some shop or office and I could search in my memory bank like flipping through an album or something and tell you that there is a princess shoe shop in that square near Giant Kelana Jaya. I said 'Semi-photographic' because sometimes I can't even remember where I put my watch.

5. Scared swimmer
I can only swim in places where I can see the bottom. This all started when I watched this mini-series where the lady got killed by a crocodile that her husband put in her swimming pool (what was it called? The Other Side of Midnight?). If there is a pool that i can't see the bottom of, I would always imagine there's a crocodile in it and it would. freak. me. out. (And you know you can't float when you're freaked out). That rules out swimming in murky rivers/lakes.

6. Old Books (ha ha, this one is for PB, famygirl, ondeonde and all you new-book freaks)
I love the smell and look of old books. I love looking at creased spines, scribbles on the margins and missing corners from it being folded too many times. I love the smell of spotted browning paper. I love going to second hand book stores and book stalls at flea markets and rummage through their offerings. I love reading inscriptions, especially if it's a gift. I have yet to find gems like tulisje did, but even a short "To Shane Nicole Jones. With love, Mike. Carrie. Carly Fisher" in our secondhand copy of Mem Fox's Time for Bed thrilled me. I imagine little Shane curled up in his bed reading this book with his mom.

see. I'm not so weird.

I'm just gonna tag one person.
I am tagging pizzofmine.
he is seriously lagging on his posts, and I'm sure he could come up with more than 6. kan kan kan?

Monday, February 26, 2007

Surfin' KSA, Part 2

I think I wrote about crazy saudis riding their ATV and/or 4wd cars/trucks up sand dunes before. Well, this time Taufik drove us about 90km north of khobar, and we rented ATVs for a spin.
We rented 2 small ATVs for Ilham and Ihsan, and Taufik rented a bigger one for himself.
The kids drove hesitantly at first, but once they got the hang of the controls, they were zooming all over the place.
I had a spin for a few minutes (while Ilham took care of Izani). The machine was too small for me, actually, but I had no choice coz Taufik had gone up the dunes by then.
Warning: the last time I showed a picture of me in a face veil, it created a huge uproar. So if you're offended, feel free to close your eyes.

All Terrain vehicles RAWKKKSSSS!

I wore the face veil coz it was 2pm and my skin is already dry as it is. I don't need sun damage to add to it(Yeah, I'm vain that way)
And yes, I know the ATV is too small for me and it makes me look like a clown on a tiny bicycle. It was still fun. I went "wooo hoooooo!!" the whole time.

After our ATV rent time was up (30riyals per hour), the kids asked if they could climb up the dune, so we drove closer to it and they actually climbed up! It took them almost 10 minutes, but they didnt give up.
The picture below didnt really capture the height and steepness of the dune..

We're on top of the world!

Ilham said he felt like he had just climbed mount everest.

We then tried to drive up there from one of the lower slopes and we made it to the top. It was kinda scary being at the edge of the dune, looking down at the almost sheer drop. I kept feeling like we were gonna topple over or something. I told Taufik to drive drive drive away quickly!
We cant drive that fast on the dunes because the sand was so slippery, and it is advisable not to even stop because once you do, you might not be able to move again due to your tires sinking into the sand while you wait, from the weight of the car.
It was scary, yet excitingly adventurous. It was like "Oh yeah.. now we're in Saudi!"

By the way, if you think we were crazy, check these boys out:
Warning: Mute your speakers, there's some weird annoying noise at the start of the clip.

Friday, February 23, 2007

if i die

When I die,
I'd like to be buried in our dusun in Kg. Empa, Kedah. I'd like to be buried on the south end of the dusun near the manggosteen tree, closer to the creek and the hut. I don't want a tombstone, just plant a pokok tanjung to remind you of where I am resting. When the tree has grown, I want a circular bench built around its trunk so that people can sit around there eating manggis and durians and jagung rebus.

I want Ilham to have my engagement ring, to give to his wife.
I want Ihsan to have my wedding ring, to give to his wife.
I want Anis to have the emerald bracelet I got from my grandmother.
I want Izani to have the first ring you ever gave me, to give to his wife.
The rest of my jewellery (there's not much), should be sold off. The proceeds should be given to Isra Saada, via MSRI.

I give you permission to remarry.
Your new wife must know how to cook. I want you and my kids to be well fed.
Your new wife must love reading and playing with kids.
Your new wife must know how to swim. She must love the beach.
Your new wife need not love PearlJam as much as I did.
If you choose not to remarry, I want your mother to take care of our kids. I think she has more time on her hands than my mother.

I want my culinary jam posts compiled and be published.
I want my juvenile jam and fictional jam posts printed out and kept for my kids to read when they're old enough.

I want someone, anyone, to sing Lightyears and be reminded of me.

Female 12

I think they should just tell everyone else to go home and leave this year's Americ@n Id0l for Stephanie, Jardin, Melinda and Lakisha to fight out.
Though I hope Lakisha to win, coz she is obviously the best of the lot, AI fans have been known to be very fickle and superficial in the past.
but then who knows.
I think Stephanie is destined to be like all the other good singers who do not manage to get to the finals coz she lacks that extra umph. I think the same about Melinda. Jardin.. I love. But she's young and so sweet. I dont know.
Stephanie impressed me, but didnt set fire to the stage, imho. Jardin and Melinda gave me goosebumps. But Lakisha.. gawddam she brought tears to my eyes.

I think the 2 girls who's going home this week are Nicole (what was she doing? singing or screaming? I heard more of the latter) and that girl simon said was forgettable and I forgot her name coz she is .. well, forgettable.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

male idols

just a short post.

Off the bat, I like Small Chris, Big Chris and Blake. Blake reminds me of elliot yameen, because of his mix of old-school and hip-hop style. Small Chris exudes so much confidence in himself and he looks like he's really having fun without trying so hard to be a star. Big Chris is also overflowing with confidence and charisma and he is so funny and I love him coz he had a such a good comeback for Simon's insults.
I think Sundance and Paul Kim is going home this week. I've never heard a worse rendition of Careless Whispers, and sundance's nights in white satin is truly truly truly karaoke.
The others are forgettable, but I'd also keep a lookout for AJ (You've got to admire his tenacity).


in other news,
I've been trying to post about my trip to indonesia, but could never get round to it... arrrggghhhhhh

Sunday, February 18, 2007

If happiness were sunbeams

It rained just as we were about to cross the street a block away from the bus station. He grabbed my hand and urged "quick!" as he pulled me towards the curb, his other hand on his head.
As if it could keep him dry.
We ran to the bus station, big droplets of water falling on us. I laughed. I love fresh rain. It's warm, and i love watching the first few droplets sizzle on the hot tarmac. Plus, he was holding my hand. That alone made me giddy.
We got to the bus station a little soggy, but not soaked. He grinned at me and touched a dropped of water on my cheek. I searched for tissue paper in my knapsack, but didnt find any. He pulled up the edge of his t-shirt and wiped his face with it. I took a peek at his navel. He held out another edge of his t-shirt and offered it to me. I grinned, bent down and wiped my face, breathing in the smell of his skin. Gosh he smelled sweet. Sweet smell of sweat, I thought to myself.
We stood there by the pillar where the old man with the cardboard box was selling peanuts, nyam-nyams and hacks, waiting for my bus. A lot of people were waiting there with us, but it felt like we were the only ones there.
He finally managed to inch his way to the pillar and leaned his back against it. I pretended that the people in front of me were forcing me to lean against him.
His chest felt warm against my back. His right thigh felt warm against the back of my left thigh.
The smell of dust, rotting corn husks, burnt grease and exhaust fumes didnt seem to bother us a bit.
"Number 33, that's mine" I told him as I saw a bus pull up.
"Let's wait for the next one" he said, gently running his thumb over the back of my hand, the one he didn't let go.
If my happiness were sunbeams, everyone there would've gotten burnt.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Izani is 10 months old!

I updated on Izani's progress on his blog.
Sorry for not updating the last few months. Time flies so fast when you're watching your kids grow up.
Makes me wanna get off this computer and spend time with them instead.
tee hee.
so i guess, ciao for now.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

16 years ago

I never told you how Taufik and I met.
Actually, maybe I have told some of you, so if you have heard this before, you know what to do.

Taufik and I went to the same community college for two years. The first time all the girls saw him, they were all struck by his .. erm.. cuteness. Yes, he was really good looking. eh, sorry, he is still good looking. But none of us (well, at least, my friends) had the guts to make the first step and talk to him, coz he was a Petronas scholar (read: cream of the crop) and obviously out of our kampung slim river league. Furthermore, we were there to study, not to make boyfriends (tee hee). To put it in american teen-flick terms, he was with the in crowd and I was more like the nerd.
For the first year we were in the college, we didn't even speak to each other.
One day in our sophomore year, Yaya, Aidot, Shidot and I were lazing around reading teen magazines when Yaya saw a contest where the first prize was New Kids On The Block concert tickets (hello, this was early 90's okay). All we had to do was send in a picture of an NOKTB look-alike. So i suggested this guy friend of ours who I think looked like Danny (something.. not Donnie Wahlberg, the other one), but my other friends thought Taufik would be better coz they think he looked like Jon Knight. *rolls eyes*. I was reluctant, because I thought Taufik would think it was silly and laugh at us, while the other guy was a good friend of ours and is prolly used to our silliness.
In the end, they won, and since I was the only one who goes to the same class as Taufik (my friends were taking IT), I was doomed to be the one who asked him. So i wrote a little note asking to talk to him after Dynamics (read: insanely difficult calculus, I wouldnt have taken it if it wasnt a requirement for an Engineering degree) coz that was the last class before lunch and I could make the other girls be with me while I ask him if we could take pictures of him.
After Dynamics class, I joined my friends who were waiting outside the classroom to see if Taufik would really come talk to us. He asked what's up and while we all walked to the cafeteria, i told him what we needed him to do.
He laughed, of course.
But not a "no way, you girls are stupid" laugh. More like a "I can't believe this is happening to me" laugh.
Suprisingly, he said yes.
So we met up for the 'photo shoot'. Yaya took pictures while the rest of us gave instructions and just giggled at times. Aidot, Shidot and I were watching while Yaya took a picture of Taufik against a blue wall when I felt that I just had to remark "Actually, he's kinda okay" and Aidot sighed and agreed. We walked home that afternoon gushing about how nice he was, how he wasnt the snob we thought he was and how that made him so so so much cuter. ah well..

A few weeks later it was Valentine's Day. We didnt have boyfriends (read: nerdy losers) so we decided to make small cards for all our friends. Just so happens the pictures were ready and we wanted to give a copy to Taufik, so I made a small card for him too. Nothing mushy coz I didnt want him to get the wrong idea or anything, just "Happy V-day, pal" or something, I can't remember. I gave the pictures and the card after Dynamics class and he said thankyou and put the card in his pocket. End of story.
or so I thought.
That evening, Aidot and I were walking back from buying our dinner and we decided to play in a tent that was pitched at the side of the road in front of the warden's house. The tent turned out to be too small for us so we decided to get out after we've had enough. I was just getting out of the tent when Taufik rode past on his motorcycle. I saw him turn the bike around as I was about to cross the road. He stopped right by me and asked me what I was doing. I said I had just played in a tent. Then he said thanx for the card and we started to chat. We chatted for quite awhile and I didnt even realize that Aidot had left us and walked back to the dorm by herself.
Well I guess the rest is history.
We were friends for a long time until he asked me where we're headed and we finally said the L-word to each other. We went to different schools in the US and travelled back and forth between Illinois and Oklahoma to keep the relationship alive. We finally got married in Oklahoma during the Summer of '92, one day and a year and a half after we had that first chat.

So forgive me if Valentine's Day holds a special place in my heart. It marks the day I started to get to know Taufik, and yes, ladies and gentlemen, today I've known him for exactly 16 years. :D

Gosh I feel old. :confused:

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ummikusayang, Celebrating Motherhood the Islamic Way

Inspired by LadyVisine's question on why I do not have a Traffic Jam in my categories, I finally thought up of a reason to have it. Posts under this category would include information on websites that I like, with hopes that you guys would go and check them out. (Thus Traffic Jam, geddit?)
For the inauguration of this category, I present you my favourite website (after my family's blogs, that is)

I am so proud of this website/company.
The founders, Lily&Hani, were my colleagues when I was working. Lily and Hani left the company waaaaay before I did, to become Work-At-Home moms. When they first told me about their online bookstore, I was totally amazed. It's not that I had never heard of on-line shopping, nor was I dubious about the power of the internet. It's just the fact that they had actually gone and done it that wow-ed me. I mean, people dream of owning their own business all the time, but to really meet people who actually went out and pursued that dream, in such an un-conventional way (at that time) truly truly impressed me.
Ummikusayang started out as an on-line bookstore selling English Islamic books for children. That was already a niche market on its own, but the key to their success is actually network marketing and using the internet to expand that network. They joined Business Network International to meet and help other business owners. They also organize seminars to further make their company known and also to encourage other aspiring business owners to start out on their own.
But their most powerful marketing tool must be their e-group. They started the ummikusayang e-group, first among friends (like me! tee hee), as a portal to discuss various topics that concern muslim parents and as a means to advertise their activities and promotions. Through this e-group the members were inspired, encouraged, advised and entertained by the stories and experiences of fellow members. The highly informational (and more often than not, entertaining) content kept members staying, and attracted new members to join.

Since then, through their extensive network offline and online, they not only have increased their product range, they have also expanded their customer base. The ummikusayang e-group now has over 3 thousand members, most residing in malaysia, but some residing in other parts of the world (like me! tee hee) and a few even, from other nationalities. The members, irregardless of how often they post or read posts on the e-group, has developed a relationship so close with each other that whenever any of us meet up, we regard each other as instant close friends. Because of my affinity to the e-group, I buy most of my children and parenting related books from the company, and I am sure most of the members do the same.Talk about building brand loyalty!

Lily&Hani are now revered as the gurus of work-at-home moms and their seminars are often very well received by members and non members alike. I have to admit, I myself was inspired by them, and that was how I gathered the courage to start my event management company with famygirl. (sidenote: our event management company handles several of ummikusayang events).

So do you want to know what Malaysian Muslim mommies are reading to their kids? Do you want to know more about muslim parenting?
Give a visit now!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Umrah in Makkah

The Journey

Assuming there are no constraints, if given a choice between travelling by air or by road, I would always choose the latter. I think driving yourself around is way more productive than catching a flight to anywhere. You also get to see more and feel so much more in control.
Our trip from Al-Kh0bar to M@kkah started at 6:45am on Thursday and we arrived at the holy city at 9:30pm in the evening. The 15hours included 1 stop for lunch and prayers, several toilet stops and one long stop at the miqat (the place where you have to clean yourself and recite your intention to perform the umrah). So the actual time spent in the car was roughly 12 to 13 hours.
It sounds long, but the scenery was so interesting and the company was good (we used walkie talkies to communicate with each other and we had berbalas pantun sessions and singing sessions and general chit-chatting) that it did not feel that long.

Just after riyadh, mesa-like formations in the abckground

It's amazing to see how the dessert is not just sand dunes. We saw hills and mountains that were of all shapes and sizes and compositions. There were formations like the Grand Canyon, there were hills that looked like triangular mounds of chocolate ice-cream with dark chocolate sprinkles on top, there were hills that looked like a giant came and decided to pile a few boulders together, there were valleys of layered rock that look like kuih lapis, and there were even some that looked like mounds of black slate chips.
Since we were heading west, we caught the sunset over the dessert. It was quite spectacular.
The kids were okay during the journey. We had a few "Are we there yet"s, but that's expected. We distracted them with the scenery and by stuffing their mouths with food.

Sunset, right before Taif

During the drive, we listened to M.Nasir's greatest hits, which were, coincidently, very apt for our journey, especially songs like "Raikan Cinta" and "KepadaMu Kekasih". We didn't put anything on after the miqat, coz we are encouraged to recite the talbiyah (arabic verses announcing our arrival to the holy city), but the kids kept singing Motley Crue's "Change, now it's time to change, nothing stays the same, now it's time for change..", which, though was not really something you'd normally associate with islamic rites, sounded very fitting.. :)
Throughout the journey I kept expecting something to happen, something that might hinder us from reaching our destination. Deep in my heart I had a fear that maybe I won't be accepted as a guest in the holy place. Alhamdulillah, we arrived there safely and my heart swelled with gratitude.

The Performance

Unlike our friends, who decided to sleep first and perform the umrah rites in the morning, we decided to do it that very night. The boys were complaining about sleeping in their ihram (cloths only) and I was dying to lather some lotion on my dry skin, so we decided to get the umrah over and done with. After having a bit of dinner and I changed into clean clothes, at about midnight we headed towards the Masjidil Haram. This was my first time, so I couldn't help gawking and wow-ing. The mosque's outside compound was really big, and even at midnight, there were people milling about, kids running around, and people sitting around talking and eating. It almost had a park-like atmosphere, which was very welcoming. Taufik brought us to the As-Salam Gate and we entered the magnificent mosque.
I caught my breath as the Ka'abah came into view. I tried not to feel too awed, because it would be so easy to cross the line between believing in the power of Allah and believing in the power of the structure. (know what i mean?).
While performing the tawaf (walking around the Ka'abah 7 times), I felt so humbled and I tried to concentrate but it was kinda difficult feel kusyuk (deep concetration), when at the same time you're also trying to make sure the kids stick together, and you're trying to answer the many questions the kids have, and they keep asking, "how many more?". But there were moments, when I read the dua's and we come to the parts asking for forgiveness, that my heart would feel so overwhelmed and my voice would crack and my eyes would tear up. But it would be fleeting, because Anis and Ihsan would immediately turn to look at me and squeeze my hand to comfort me.
Kepadamu kekasih, aku serahkan
jiwa dan raga, jua segalanya
apakah kau akan menerima penyerahan ini
apakah kau akan menerima ku
dalam keadaan begini

We took awhile to perform the Sa'ie (walking briskly between the hills of Safa and Marwah, 7 times), because the boys' cloths kept getting untied and we had to stop and fix them at almost every turn.We also stopped once in awhile to sit down, because the kids were tired and Taufik was carrying Izani, who, by then, had woken up from the nap he took in Taufik's arms during the tawaf. At one of the turns, Ilham and I even rubbed each other's feet. :)
Ke sana Ke sini lari lari kecil
Bagaikan Siti Hajar mencari air
Terpancur sinar di kering pasir
Bekas hentakan kudus kaki Ismail

We finally completed the umrah at about 2:30am. We felt quite proud of our accomplishement and we walked back to our hotel in high spirits.

The boys waiting for friday prayers

We went to the mosque for every prayer when we were there, except I didnt go for the Friday prayers. After Fajr prayers on the last day we were there, we performed the tawaf wida'. There weren't that many people, so I managed to pray in Hijr Ismail. Taufik took care of Izani as I did this, so I finally had some time on my own. I read the du'a with full emotion, and finally had a good cry.
I can't explain what I felt then. It was like a mixture of feeling like I don't deserve to be forgiven, but wanting so badly to be forgiven for all my sins. There was a lot of fear in my heart, what if my prayers were not accepted? But there was also a lot of faith that He is Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim, loving and forgiving.

The Outcome

I am so happy to have been able to make this journey and to have been given the opportunity to perform my umrah.
I had expected some huge revelation, perhaps the clouds would open up and Allah would shine a light down on me and I'd get a jolt or something, but of course that only happens in the movies.
I do feel a change, but it's softer and more subtle, like a whisper in my heart that guides my actions and reactions.
I find I'm calmer, less stressed out about stuff. It's like my priorities were re-aligned or something, I look at things/situations a bit differently now.
I don't know. I don't know how to explain it.
ha ha. for once, I am at a loss for words. :)

The kids in the mosque compound

I asked my kids, and they said they had enjoyed the trip as well, despite feeling a little tired.
We were a bit sad to say goodbye to the holy city. I felt our trip was too short. There were so many things I had wanted to do. I still felt like I hadn't prayed enough. I felt like a person who had been given an all-you-can-eat buffet but had chosen to eat only one plate. Ruginya... ! (What a waste/shame)

Insya-Allah, I will be back!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Easy Peasy Cheese and Olive Loaf

I bet you thought I'd never get around to making a culinary jam post, eh? Well, I thought so too. But this recipe is so easy, i managed to squeeze it in in between cooking dinner.

I got this recipe from a magazine at a friend's house (I think it's a compilation of recipes from Women's Weekly). It looked easy enough, and the picture looked yummy, and the ingredients were pretty simple and readily available, so i thought I'd give it a try. I'm gonna give the recipe in it's originality and then tell you what I changed in mine.

Easy peasy Cheese and Olive Loaf

1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
2/3cup (50g) coarsely grated parmesan
2 tablespoons coearsly chopped fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup (120g) seeded black olives, chopped coarsely
75grams mortadella, chopped coarsely
4 eggs, beaten lightly
80grams butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400F(200C). Lightly grease 8cm by 26cm bar cake pan.
Sift flour into a medium bowl, add cheese, mint, pepper, olives and mortadella.
Add egg and melted butter, stir until well combined. Spread mixture into pan, bake about 35minutes or until browned lightly.
Turn onto wire rack to cool. (Serves 6)

luvleh and yummeh!!!

I don't really like the taste of mint, except when it's in laksa, toothpaste or a breath freshening candy, so I omitted the fresh mint. I didnt have enough grated parmesan coz Anis ate most of it when I made spaghetti the day before so I added a bit of shredded mozarella instead. I didn't use black pepper, but them powdered white pepper instead. I brought pre-sliced black olives, the kind you would put on pizza, and just ran a knife through them so that it wont be so chunky and my kids wouldnt be able to pick them out. I used beef mortadella, and only realized that I had bought the kind that already had olives in them. I used more than 75 grams.. tee hee. I guess if you can't find mortadella, you can use any type of deli meats. Giant Kelana Jaya has a counter that sells halal ones, the last time I was there.

The end result was a little dry, I don't know why. The next time I make it I'll probably put some kind of fresh herb , maybe it'll moisten it a bit. but even so, it was still yummy. The combination of olives, cheese and cured meat was just right on delicious. I think the next time i try this maybe I'd add sun-dried tomatoes and basil, and I'd call it a pizza loaf!

Cubalah! (Go on, try it!)

Hope that this will tie you over while I'm away in Makkah for a few days.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Cinta and Gubra

I managed to watch both Gubra (original VCD, from Speedy) and Cinta (ehm.. ).

I watched Cinta first, because I was curious about all the hype. They showed the promo for this film almost every hour on the local TV when I was home, and it looked really interesting, albeit reminding me a bit of 'Love Actually'. (One reviewer in one of the local papers did compare it to Love Actually)

As I have mentioned in my previous post, to me it was like watching a compilation of heart-tugging and glossy commercials that they usually show around festive season. Each 'story' was, on it's own, short and concise, perhaps not good enugh to make into a full length movie? In combination though, I guess they did manage to potray the different levels and kinds of 'love'. The most poignant, was of course the story about the old teacher and the laksa seller played beautifully by Rahim Razali and Fatimah Abu Bakar, respectively. The most vomit-inducing was the romance between MPH-girl and the most eligible bachelor. Sungguh meluat. Tak real lansung. Macam iklan untuk valentine's day aje. Adeke orang kat malaysia buat camni?
However, this would be a good movie to watch with the whole family, be it adults or kids, since it does have something that can be learnt by all generations.
Not mind boggling, tapi bolehlah tahan. I don't think I cried or was awefully touched by any particular scene. Oh, except maybe that scene where Rahim Razali got confused in the middle of KL... i felt his confusion and anxiety, and I cheered when FAB scolded the spectators.
I thought Sharifah Amani was so type-casted in this movie. Of courselah she has to be some bohemian, selamba gabra chick lah kan. Cannot be any other character kah? I'd like to see her doing something else next. Not budak sekolah. Pengemis ke. Pengemis yang penakut dan lembik. Boleh?

Gubra, I think should be labelled as "Cinta Rated R". (or maybe Cinta should be labelled as "Gubra Rated PG" if I had watched Gubra first). Unlike its pre-quel, Sepet, it is not focused on just the story of Orked, but also the story of the relationship between the bilal's family and the prostitutes.
I absolutely loved the intro to this movie, coz there was often a time when I prepared a meal for my husband and family, and wished someone would film it, just to show how it was prepared with love. tee hee.
There have been a lot of debate going on about the bilal and the prostitute story in this movie. Arguments of why it had to be shown that way. I can't comment on it realistic-ness. maybe there are religious stalwarts out there who really do care and treat people equally. But I do commend yasmin for not potraying the stereotype bilal - someone who only gives sermons and looks down sternly at 'sinners'. This Bilal was the most human bilal I have seen on screen. He does have sex, he does have a sense of humor, he does have faults. Though he does seem a little bit 'super-human' in one scene. I would've loved to see him beat up someone. But then, I didn't write the script. To the critics on the issue, I say.. it's just a story lah.. it can't always be perfect and by the book. Kalau tidak, tak jadi cerita lah pulak, kan?
Orked's story somehow became secondary to me.. Halfway I almost became disinterested. And the way her husband calls her 'budak kecik' (little kid) (and her calling him 'orang tua' (old man)) kinda weirds me out.. seems so.. erm.. p@edophiliac somehow.
But my main complaint is the liberal use of sexual innuendos throughout the film, which I think was not really necessary, except for sensational or perhaps comic effect. I am glad I watched this movie while the kids were at school, or else I would have had a hard time explaining what "gentel sotong" means.
I cried only at one scene, and again it involved Jason's mom (gosh, I have to remember her name). That scene where she tried to hold her husband's hand and he pulled away, and she was so hurt and then he slowly took her hand instead. Aww mannn I'm teary eyed just writing about it.

Anyways, I think both movies are worth a watch. Both are beautifully done, if you ask me. Story-wise, bolehlah tahan.. a good effort lah. Worth the money spent. Certainly giving me hope that the future Malaysian movies will get better and better.

Siapa nak pinjam??

Monday, February 05, 2007

meh meh meh

don't know what to blog about today.

I was supposed to go out with a new neighbour, but then this morning the bus we were supposed to be on (which is also the bus my kids ride to school) had a punctured tyre so I wasnt sure whether the bus would be available, so I told her I'd call her back to confirm and she gave me her handphone number coz she was on her way out to send her son to the nursery at the clubhouse. But when I did confirm that the bus is available and tried to call her handphone I kept getting an error message in arabic. But I got ready anyways and before I left the house i tried calling her again, but I got the message again. I stepped out of the house with my arms full of Izani, his jacket, my big red handbag (RM20 from Jakarta, did I tell you?), and the stroller and was about to cross the street to the clubhouse when the bus drove by. I tried flailing my arms to stop it but I couldnt coz you couldnt really do much flailing of arms when it's weighted down by a 10kg baby and a stroller.
So shopping trip cancelled. I think my friend is on the bus, coz her house phone is not answered and that dang mobile number is wrong or something i don't know. I expect she'll call me and ask me what happened when she gets back home.


I don't really understand what's going on with the purchase of a private jet thingy, but in my opinion, irregardless of whether you're buying or leasing, you're still spending money and when you're spending the taxpayer's money, the taxpayers deserves an explanation on the justifications for the spending. That's the least you can do after you make us fill up a confusing form then queue tengah2 malam buta at Brem Tower and then send us a letter saying after you have already taken a bit of our monthly pay, we STILL owe you money. Tell us what you're using the money for, then I'll give you my money. Bley?

hm.. meh..

can I be a nerd and say "Yay for American Idol!!" ?
Maybe I should write about Gubra.

meh.. tomorrow lah.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Teka Teki (riddles)

I was chatting with my friend's son yesterday. Actually, he wanted to chat with Ilham, but Ilham wasn't home from school yet then.
Somehow we got into exchanging riddles.

A: Nak main teka teki? (Do you want to play solve the riddles?)
Elisa: Okay.
A: Apa dia ada 6 kaki, 4 mata, 2 mulut, 2 hidung, 2 tangan apa dia? (What has 6 feet, 4 eyes, 2 mouths, 2 noses, 2 hands, what is it?)
Elisa: hm.. *pikir* (*thinks*) (actually, I was snickering)
Elisa: {my answer}
A: terer giler (so smart)
Elisa: eh betull??? (It's correct?) wooo hooooo!!!

At this point Ilham came home from school.

Elisa: Ilham dah balik, dia baca teka teki A, dia ketawa. (Ilham is home and he read your riddle, he is laughing)
A: okay ada satu pencuri dia nak lari dari polis tapi kereta dia habis minyak ada 2 petrol station BP dan Petronas, kenapa dia pilih petronas? (There's a thief running away from the police but his car ran out of gas and there were two gas stations, BP and Petronas, why did he choose Petronas?)
Elisa: hm...
Elisa: because {my answer}
A: betulll!!! (Correct!!)
Elisa: yay!!
Elisa: Okay, can you solve this little riddle, The one who smells sits in the middle. What is it?
(long silence)
A: waaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh tak tahu!!! (I dont know!!)
Elisa: cubalah fikir.. (just try to think)
A: Adik kata snail. (My sister says it's a snail)
Elisa: Why snail? Does a snail smell? *laugh*
Elisa: A smelly snail? **snicker*
A: I dont knowwwwwwww give me a clue.
Elisa: okay okay a clue, smell is a verb, not an adjective.
A: tak tahuuu (I don't know)

Can you guess the answers to the riddles?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Eyeing my kids

Better write this before it gets old.

Before we left Mal@ysia for S@udi, we made sure that we go on the Eye on Malaysia. Basically, it's a high-tech ferris wheel that the government decided to have to help promote Visit Mal@ysia year 2007. It's like The Eye on L0ndon, but slightly smaller.
We went to Taman Tasik Titiwangsa (Titiwangsa Lake Garden) right after I had lunch with The lioness in KLCC. It was mid afternoon and it had started to drizzle a bit. We were delighted to find that the queue wasn't that long at all. Perhaps the fact that it was a working day and that the school holidays were over, helped.
It was my first time on a ferris wheel and I do have a sliiiight fear of heights so it was kinda freaky. ketor lutut jugok lah. The pod swayed everytime it stops and starts to board passengers, and my heart kinda lurched when we got to the very top.
"this is kinda high, huh?" i grinned nervously at Taufik, trying to hide my feelings so that the kids don't freak out as well. Izani was oblivious to everything and Anis and Ihsan was like going "woah, woah.." like it was some kind of a roller coaster ride , but Ilham had this panic expression on. So Taufik started pointing out the sights to distract everyone. KLCC, his old office, Istana Budaya, The Library, PWTC. Taufik also took the time to look at the traffic and plot our exit from the park. Izani got a bit bored after awhile so I entertained him with my 'ubat segala penyakit' (multi-purpose cure-all), otherwise scientifically known as my mammary glands. I wonder if they give out certificates of recognition for breastfeeding at the highest altitude.
The ride felt like forever, but I think it was only for 15 minutes, plus maybe an additional 5 minutes to wait for our turns to board off.

Keep an eye on it

All in all it was kinda fun. I bet if it wasnt raining and I wasn't so woozy with vertigo I could've taken some pretty awesome pictures.

Did I have any complaints? As usual, the signboards could've been clearer. We almost got lost coz this was our first time to the garden. The intercom in the pod was really really noisy coz it was broadcasting static. It's like someone forgot to switch off something in the control room or something. And I have the same complaint as my dad: what in the world are the water ski-ers for? Sometimes I wonder about the amount of thought that goes into promoting our country as a tourism destination.*

Have you been on The Eye?

*That's me trying to be thought provoking... tee hee!

the hits, misses and suprises.

Even with all the things I managed to do during the 5 weeks I was back home for the holiday, I still felt it was too short, and I still had many many things that I wished I had done but didnt have time to do.

I saw most of my relatives and friends thanx to the little party I had for Izani.
I did not get to see some of my friends that i would usually meet every holiday, like Azuna, who lives right on the highway that leads to my in-law's house.
I didnt get a chance to drive to USJ Taipan to meet the ladies in Ummikusayang and to buy some books.
I didnt even get a chance to stop by Munawarrah and see Ina and her new baby. Munwarrah is usually one of my 'syarat2 wajib holiday', heh heh, but sadly, not this year.
I wanted to go to kelang and visit Farah's mom's house (and Farah and jeremy and Adam) but that didnt happen.
But i did get to go to Jakarta and had the time of my life! I fulfilled at least one item on my "things to do before I die" list, which was to see a real live volcano.
(more entries on my trip to jakarta later)

I guess you win some, you lose some.

The suprise was, I made a new friend this time around. It was funny how we met.
Taufik brought us to IKEA coz he wanted to buy new curtains for the new folks who are renting our condo. We were looking at the long curtains when a lady came up to me and asked where I bought my headscarf. I was flabbergasted at first, coz nobody ever asked me that before. At last I managed to say "Oh, I bought this in City Plaza", then I remembered that we were in Malaysia so I added "in Saudi, so sorry.. I don't know where you can get it here". I thought I sounded like a bit of a show off then, you know , like i bought this overseas and you can't possible get it here coz I am so more well travelled than you kinda thing, you know.. but fortunately i guess I didnt come off that way coz the lady started chatting with me and I chatted away in response and in the end we exchanged phone numbers and throughout the 5 weeks on my holiday we chatted several times. I found out that Farhana (that's her name) is a stay at home mom (that's why she has time to go shopping in IKEA on a Thursday afternoon) and she is Montessori certified and she conducts playgroup sessions for kids sometimes and she was organizing a fun one on pyramids and mummies the other day but I couldnt attend coz we were going to Jakarta.
Anyways. What a delight it was to make a new friend so unexpectedly. and all because of a headscarf!

ok so that's like a summary of my holiday, I'll write more later later.

Friday, February 02, 2007

eeeek... exposure!

As my old friend Jagung (the friendship is old, not the friend) informed me in my previous post, my blog was mentioned on one of Jeff Ooi's posts. It's nothing great, just a passing mention that I'm one of my dad's offsprings who happen to blog.
FYI, just to get the facts straight, tulisje blogged anonymously for a much longer time than all of us. (Btw, thanx to Jeff, she's no longer anonymous). I blogged out of curiosity and as a means to update my friends and family on my progress in life. When tulisje asked me about my kids one day, I told her to go read my blog. Tulisje mentioned it mokciknab, who then started blogging, and she let it slip to my dad, who then started to blog too. Mimi followed suit, and Nina&Firhad only started after urges from us who kept telling them "Weh.. you should start a blog lah" everytime they left a long comment on ours.

It's not that I am not grateful, I mean knowing the amount of people who reads Jeff, it's almost equivalent to getting your 15minutes of fame, isn't it?. But also knowing the kind of people who 'reads' Jeff, especially nowadays with the libel suit and the government being aware of the existence and influence of the blogosphere, I wonder if I should feel a bit fearful.
Would I be getting unwanted attention?

Perhaps I need not worry.
Afterall, I seldom follow Malaysian politics. I don't know who bought what for how much, who siphoned which funds, who gave who's sons which business. Heck, I don't even know how the Malaysian economy works. My knowledge, nor opinion, isn't worth much.
People who do come here and read would probably see me as a simple housewife who cooks (and recently took up sewing) and cares for her kids.
I am not influential. I am not political. In fact, some people even called me apolitical and apathetic. I don't think I could write anything that could cause and uproar.
If a revolution was ever started because of me, it'll probably be to flood KL with rice krispy treats, berry-misus and pavlovas. Or to play PearlJam in all radios all day long. muahahahahaha.
So nothing to worry about, kan? kan?
heck, maybe they'd read me and see how harmless blogging really is, and would then leave all of us the eff alone.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Belated Birthday Boy

This is, like, almost 2 weeks late, but better late than never, eh?

Firhad is the only boy among my siblings. In fact, my parents emphasized that fact by calling him 'Boy' when he was little.
I must admit, when I was growing up, I resented that he was the only male in my family. He tended to get away with not doing any chores. Whilst we girls had to help in the kitchen, do the dishes, sweep around the house or fold laundry, Firhad was always allowed to just sit around and read books.
I missed out a lot on watching Firhad grow up because I was away studying. When I was finally home and working, I was dismayed to discover Firhad didn't do too well with his SPM, has started smoking and is basically, bumming around (in my eyes). He had a job with a company that produces commercials or something, but he didnt look like he was really working. I was kinda worried of what would become of him, would he be wandering around without clear direction, relying on my parents for the rest of his life? Once I had to put on a thick skin and explain to a bald (crew cut? skin head?) chinese lady in a tank-top and orange sunglasses why Firhad hadn't shown up to work and why he was still asleep at 3 in the afternoon. Dude, I didnt even know he was home, membuta in his dank cigarette smelling room.
It was like I didn't even know him even though we lived under the same roof. It was kinda sad.
But being brother and sister, you couldn't really stay strangers for long. I slowly got re-introduced to Firhad.
I discovered that underneath that chaotic job-hopping erratic way of his, he actually has a vision and ambition. Knowing that he worked his way (almost up now, eh?) from the very bottom of the pot made me admire his dedication and drive. I remember watching the first few episodes of The Brand and thinking, "woah this is a pretty cool show". Too bad it got all re-arranged and butchered and turned into some crap commercial show.
I must admit, after 32 years, he's turned out to be quite a responsible brother, son, husband, father, muslim. Plus, he can't be too bad if Rotidua wanted to marry him and is *still* married to him. (tee hee)
So, to the guy who introduced me to Frank Miller. The guy who left Lord Of The Rings lying around in the house for us to pick up sooner or later. The guy who brought Manga into the house. The guy who made me watch Akira till my head hurt. The guy who made me see movies in a different light.

Rawk on.